Rethinking IT investment and innovation for post-coronavirus Africa

Africa-based tech leaders explore the way forward for doing business in the post-COVID-19 era as companies prepare for the reopening of economies.

Innovation often emerges where there's the greatest need.  Organisations in African markets, which typically face challenging economic conditions, tend to prioritise solving the most pressing societal problems – and this is why opportunities for tech leaders may arise as sub-Saharan Africa emerges from the coronavirus pandemic into an uncertain economic environment.

In addition to investments needed for improving infrastructure resilience – a longtime issue in the region – the pandemic has highlighted the need, and increasing demand, for cloud-based services and platforms, secure remote access, and online-enabled operations.

"Due to the lockdown, we had a spike in customer support requests so we decided to put the FAQs together and we're currently training a chatbot using IBM Watson assistant to respond swiftly to such questions and complaints," said Okeke Ebere, IT support engineer at Lagos-based Nowtech Enterprises, a PC and service supplier. "The Watson assistant will be integrated into WhatsApp, our Facebook page and website."

This will allow the business to automate customer services. "IBM Watson assistant hosted on IBM cloud will be used for the backend. WhatsApp, Facebook bot, and the chat section on the website will be used for front end. The WhatsApp chat integration is done with botkit integration. We are also looking at integrating with other chat platforms using botkit," Ebere said.

Here's what investing in a post-crisis looks like

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